France is the World Cup champion for the second time in the country’s history as Les Bleus beat upstart Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s final in Russia to put a bow on the 2018 event. That hardly means there’s no soccer this week. Let’s take a look at what’s trending around the Soccer Betting action, including the next edition of the World Cup (Qatar 2022).
Top Soccer Betting Picks of the Week – July 16th Edition
Unfortunately, soccer fans will have to wait more than the usual four years for the 2022 World Cup. That’s because corrupt FIFA sold its soul to award the ’22 tournament to Qatar, which is basically a slave state. Not to mention, it gets just a bit hot in the desert in the summer.
Because of that, the 2022 World Cup will be played from Nov. 21-Dec. 8 – right in the middle of the American football season, meaning the tournament is going to get buried coverage-wise in the United States. It’s the first winter World Cup held in the Northern Hemisphere. Other World Cups have happened during winter in the Southern Hemisphere, like when Brazil hosted during their winter in June and July of 2014. The dates will hugely impact club seasons, and Europe and South America are expected to split their seasons up.
Will the Americans even make the tournament? Of course, they were stunned in the final game of qualifying last October by Trinidad & Tobago to miss out; it was arguably the low point of U.S. soccer. The USA, which hadn’t failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1986, is currently +6000 to win the 2022 World Cup. Not going to happen. Host nation Qatar automatically qualifies (it never has previously) and is +15000.
Brazil is the early +600 favorite for the World Cup because it’s always favored and has won it a record six times. The Brazilians were knocked out this year I the quarterfinals by Belgium, 2-1. The Belgians would beat England in the third-place match.
France is +650 to go back-to-back in 2022. Young superstar Kylian Mbappe will be hitting his prime in 2022. Scary to think of the 19-year-old getting even better. The Paris Saint-Germain forward is the heir apparent to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best player.
Neither Messi nor Ronaldo was able to bring home a World Cup for their countries and presumably will be too old to play in four years. Mbappe joined the legendary Pele in the record books by becoming the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since the Brazilian did so a 17-year-old in 1958.
France isn’t going anywhere as it was the second-youngest team to ever with a World Cup with an average age of 25 years and 10 months. Only Brazil (1970) won the World Cup with a younger squad as Brazil had an average age of 25 years and 9 months in 1970. In addition to Mbappe, Paul Pogba is only 25, while Ousmane Dembele, Thomas Lemar, Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez are all in their early 20s.
World Cup qualifying begins next year already. How many teams will be in the 2022 tournament? It could be more than the usual 32; FIFA already has announced the field will grow to 48 for the 2026 World Cup held in the USA, Mexico, and Canada but might make the change in time for the 2022 event.
MLS: DC United at Atlanta
One intriguing matchup this week in Major League Soccer is DC United at Atlanta on Saturday.
In this past Saturday’s 3-1 win over Vancouver, the latest big-name European import to MLS made his debut: former England star Wayne Rooney. England’s record scorer set up Paul Arriola for a goal and almost added one himself with a header in the victory for DC United. Rooney left Everton two weeks ago for the challenge of reversing the fortunes of DC United, who are at the bottom of MLS’ Eastern Conference.
Rooney came on a sub in the 59th minute. It was a bit of surprise that’s where Rooney landed as DC United have tended to shy away from signing the sort of older, marquee players that many other MLS clubs favor, with the likes of Rooney’s former Manchester United teammates Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bastian Schweinsteiger at LA Galaxy and Chicago Fire, respectively.
“To be honest I’ve never played with players the caliber of Wayne,” said Arriola, who scored two goals.
Rooney’s arrival comes at a bit of a unique time for the DC United franchise. Once, one of the MLS’ most-dominant teams, with four championships in their first nine seasons, United have struggled in the years since. They just opened a new stadium, Audi Field. They entered Saturday having played all but two of their matches on the road, while they waited for Audi Field to be completed. Saturday was the debut of the park.
Atlanta United drew 1-1 with Seattle on Sunday in front of a record crowd of 72,243 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Sounders were reduced to 10 men in the 63rd minute when Jordan McCrary was sent off for his second bookable offense.
Check back for odds on this match, although Atlanta will be the Mybookie Sportsbook favorite at home as it leads the Eastern Conference.